Have you ever decided on something you want to get or achieve, but somehow you never seem to quite reach it? There can be various reasons why this might happen, with one of them being, that you fall into a routine. This is why I say, don’t let the journey become the destination.
It can be a convenient situation that you don’t even realise has happened. You go about your daily life focusing on the usual things, including what you want to achieve. This entails going through the same routines every day without having to really think about it too much.
The truth is that routines can be both comforting and confining. Doing the same things in the same way every day can help us through by making us feel comfortable, but on the other hand, they may restrict our outlook. There’s also another possibility that we might not even notice its happening.
The Journey Becomes the Goal
We all have our own life patterns which we develop and tend to repeat over and over again. Mostly, they work in our favour, but not always. A problem can arise when we set a difficult to achieve goal and then allow it to keep at arm’s length away, because it’s more convenient to do so.
It’s where your eye is on the prize, but the daily routine you go through trying to move towards it, becomes a comfortable habit. Before very long, that comfortable habit becomes engrained as part of your daily life.
You are then in danger of never achieving your goal, because if you do so, your daily routine would be disrupted, or worse changed! Think about it, how awful would it be if what you’d become very comfortable with, was suddenly not needed anymore?
If the journey towards your goal needs to be practised every day, you know where you are, you feel safe because of the routine and you know you’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow. That’s a comforting feeling as no disruption needs to be felt.
You can continue the journey that makes you feel comfortable with no desire to change it. If it ends, you have the prize but lose the comfort. This is how easy it is to let the journey become the goal, because it never ends.
How Does it Happen?
Unfortunately, this situation often happens without you even realising it has done so. In fact, because you feel comfortable with your routine, you fool yourself into believing you’re still on course to reach the goal.
The reality is that you have now achieved a new goal. That’s the goal of feeling comfortable by continuing your daily routine. Oh, your mind tells you that you’re still on course to reach the original goal, but you’re being fooled. As long as what you believe to be the goal, is kept just out of reach, your routine provides comfort and that’s an achievement in itself.
Don’t let the journey become the goal, because that’s what is now happening. It’s a bit like evolution, where things change so slowly over time that you don’t notice it. It’s only when you stop and look back, you then see how different things have become.
Most of us go through our lives with our eyes closed. We allow what feels comfortable to become the norm and we don’t realise what’s happening. We allow ourselves to believe we’re still reaching for the original goal. It’s still there in our sights, but just that little bit out of reach – how convenient!
How to Stop the Journey Becoming the Destination
Our life is a journey that teaches us much and while we’re here, we never stop learning. Along the way, most of us have goals we want to reach, so it’s very important to keep focused on them. Writing them down on a piece of paper can be a great help.
When you put a goal into writing, you’re making it real, you can see it and it exists. You’re committing yourself to achieve it. You should carry it around with you if possible, so you can read it many times each day.
Spending five to ten minutes every day focusing on the goal will help to keep it top of mind. Contemplate any successes or even setbacks that may have occurred because these thoughts will help to keep the idea fresh. You’ll also find that as you do this, other thoughts and ideas will pop into your mind.
All of this will help to keep the goal real, without the option of it becoming secondary to the comfort of the routine that’s designed to get you there. Also documenting your progress will help because you’ll be able to see the goal getting closer.
Remember, you create your own destiny with your thoughts and actions, so be open to making changes in your life. That way you’ll make new routines difficult to bed-in and become difficult to change habits.
The Journey Matters
The author Greg Anderson said: “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” He’s right of course, but it does seem to go a little against what I’ve already written.
The journey is important, but while you should focus on it, you should also keep in mind that it is leading to something. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? The journey is the means by which you reach your destination.
Your journey should be acknowledged, enjoyed, tweaked along the way and seen as a means to an end, but never the end itself. Once that journey is done, you can move to another one. It’s a bit like the people who holiday at the same place every year because they like it and know what to expect, as opposed to those who seek adventure, visiting new places every year.
Which of those types of holiday do you prefer? Ask yourself, you might find it reveals a lot about the kind of person you are. There’s nothing bad or wrong with routines, we all need them to a degree, it’s when they become the destination, for fear of change, that can cause a problem.
Keep these words in your mind: don’t let the journey become the destination, because otherwise you might be limiting yourself. You’ll be causing stagnation to yourself, you’ll stay the same and never change. Or is that what you’d prefer?